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Oil Pulling 101: How We Tried and Loved This Natural Remedy

Everything you need to know about this holistic beauty trend. The beauty world is obsessed right now with finding natural products. So when actress turned lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow revealed to the world that she was trying oil pulling for health, we all took notice. Oil pulling has been rumored to help with beauty issues such as teeth whitening and has even wilder claims such as helping with eczema and psoriasis. I’m always hoping to find new ways to incorporate natural products into my regimen—bonus points if this helps with either my oral hygiene or my battle with eczema—so I put this Goop-endorsed detox to the test. Keep reading to see how I fared and to learn more about the benefits of oil pulling.

So what is oil pulling?

Oil pulling is a teeth cleaning remedy that involves swirling around oil (usually sesame, sunflower or coconut oil) in the mouth for 20 minutes to clean teeth and gums. It’s an age-old Ayurvedic remedy that was developed centuries ago in India. The basic concept is that the oil cuts through bacteria and plaque in the mouth. The oil and the excess gunk adheres to each other. When you spit the oil back out, the extra bacteria goes with it.

What are the benefits of oil pulling?

Reported benefits of oil pulling include: whiter teeth, gingivitis prevention, better breath, stronger teeth, less jaw pain and alleviation of headaches. There have even been claims that oil pulling is good for fighting eczema, psoriasis and acne.

What are the best oils to use?

Traditional Ayurvedic oil pulling uses sesame oil but sunflower and coconut oil will also do the trick. I personally found that melted coconut oil had a pleasant taste and if I had extra left over then I could use the coconut oil for other purposes.

How to oil pull:

First thing’s first. Pick an oil. If you’re using coconut oil, take a tablespoon of the congealed oil and melt it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Begin to pull by swirling the oil around your mouth. Your jaw muscles may get tired, so when you’re starting off pull for only 5 minutes. Although the recommended time for oil pulling is 20 minutes, it’s easier to slowly work up to that amount of time. When you spit the oil back into the cup, you’ll notice that the oil will have magically doubled in size. Don’t worry. This is actually the gunk that the oil is cleaning from your mouth. Rinse your mouth with warm water and finish your nightly routine by brushing and flossing. Pro tip: Oil can clog the drain. So spit the oil back into a cup, use a paper towel to soak it up, then throw the towel into the trash.

I like this. Do I still have to brush and floss?

Yes, you will always have to brush and floss! There isn’t any alternative to brushing your teeth. To put it simply, oil pulling is a holistic addition to your oral hygiene regimen.

What to do with the extra coconut oil?

Coconut oil is an amazing ingredient that can be used for the skin, hair and body. If you decide that oil pulling is something you wish to discontinue, use the leftover coconut oil in the jar as a natural body moisturizer, cuticle oil, lip balm or hair tamer.

So does swishing coconut oil work?

To be honest, I was skeptical that this natural remedy would work. I began my oil pulling experiment at end of the night when I could feel the gunk building up. I swirled the coconut oil for 5 minutes and spit it out. After rinsing with water, I noticed a distinct lack of slime on my teeth. My mouth felt cleaner and my molars felt smoother. I still had to continue my tooth brushing and flossing regimen but overall, I felt that the coconut oil did a good job of rinsing out the gross stuff. I oil pulled for about a week and I haven’t seen any improvement with my eczema; however, my teeth have never looked better. My teeth feel cleaner and my breath is fresher in the mornings. Swishing coconut oil for a full 20 minutes is tiring, so I only plan on continuing to do it for 5 minutes per day.  

The science behind it

Oil pulling is a trend that’s rooted in science. Coconut oil contains Vitamin E which is antifungal and antibacterial. Recent studies have shown that oil pulling helps fight bacteria, gingivitis, and plaque. So if anything, the oil works as a natural mouthwash. While many swear that oil pulling solves various other health problems such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, the accuracy of those claims is still left to be studied. It’s best to see a professional if you believe you have medical issue. But for those of us who want a chemical-free, natural alternative to Listerine, oil pulling is definitely something worth trying.   To get more helpful tips and tricks, sign up for the MYSA newsletter now! Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.



MYSA user avatar
David 08/06/2020

Did you know it's great for thrush?

MYSA user avatar
carly 09/06/2020

In reply to by David


Wow, Learn something new everyday! Thank you for sharing.

MYSA user avatar
Tylee 24/05/2021

There is also a Natural DIY toothpaste using Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, baking soda and peppermint or cinnamon essential oil. It is great stuff lots better than big pharma chemicals

MYSA user avatar
carly 24/05/2021

In reply to by Tylee


Dear Tylee, thank you for your advice, we will sure try and check it out!
Have a nice one, regards :)

MYSA user avatar
Tracy Durrani 21/01/2023

You’re actually supposed to pull first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Also instead of putting it in the microwave, I let it melt in my mouth first by chewing it.


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